November 13th is National Indian Pudding Day! In keeping with a Top of JC’s Mind tradition, here is an Indian pudding themed poem for you. Enjoy!
by Joanne Corey
It’s simple –
an old family recipe
a bit of salt
butter the size of an egg
Two hours in a 300 degree oven.
But the sweetness brings memories
of Great-Aunt Gert
and generations of frugal New Englanders
making do with what they had
to fill children’s bellies with warmth.
Aunt Gert’s recipe can be found here: https://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/indian-pudding-recipe/
Yesterday, I posted about my poem “Making Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding” which precipitated several requests for the recipe. So, here it is, with various notes, because I can never seem to share a recipe without side commentary. Sorry that the measurements are all US ones. The recipe is pretty forgiving, so if you do have to estimate amounts, don’t worry about it.
2 Tablespoons cornmeal*
3 Tablespoons tapioca
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 quart warm milk
1 cup cold milk
butter size of egg
Add first four ingredients to molasses – then add cold milk and mix well. When the quart of milk is thoroughly heated, add gradually to above mixture. Pour into buttered 2-quart casserole. Add butter and bake two hours at 300 degrees F. Stir occasionally first 1/2 hour. Serve with ice cream.
*For a thicker texture, increase cornmeal to 6 Tablespoons and stir occasionally for the first hour. I’ve been doing this variation lately.
I’ve made this with whole milk, 2% milk, skim milk, and lactose-free milk. I have absolutely no idea what would happen if one attempted it with soy milk or almond milk.
It’s best to bake this a day ahead and then store in the refrigerator. The flavors seem to meld better after they set.
You can reheat individual servings in the microwave or reheat the whole casserole dish in the oven or microwave. You definitely want to serve it warm so that the ice cream melts over it as you eat it.
You can experiment with adding spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I happen to like this recipe without them, but many Indian pudding recipes do add them.
Indian pudding is deceptively filling. Don’t try to eat a large bowl unless you are very hungry.
I am very pleased to announce that I have another poem published today! The blog of Silver Birch Press has published “Making Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding” as part of their “My Sweet Word” series. You can find it here: https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/making-aunt-gerts-indian-pudding-poem-by-joanne-corey-my-sweet-word-series/
Update: The recipe is now available here: https://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/indian-pudding-recipe/
I’ve spent an inordinate amount to time over the last couple of days revising one of my poems about Indian pudding for submission to Silver Birch Press’s upcoming “My Sweet Word” series and compiling and formatting the rest of the materials needed – bio, author’s note, photo with caption.
As many of you know, I often wrestle with technical issues, especially when I have to format for MS Word from my non-Windows system and when I have to deal with images of any sort.
It literally took me hours to get everything assembled properly, but I was finally able to hit “send” this morning.
And – drum roll, please! – I am happy to report that I have already received an acceptance! I think my submission must have landed on the top of the inbox on the West Coast for the beginning of their work day.
So, at some point this month or next, I’ll be able to share the link with you, featuring an ever-so-artistic photo of my hands cradling a bowl of Indian pudding with melting vanilla ice cream. I made a batch in the heat of August, just so we could do the photo shoot.
Well, truth be told, not just for the photo shoot….
While we generally don’t make something that has to bake for two hours during the dog days of summer, Indian pudding is still a delicious treat and brings back memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with family and of B’s great-aunt Gert, whose recipe we use, although I must confess that I have been experimenting with proportions a bit.
It’s always a good time for Indian pudding!
Today is the day before Thanksgiving in the United States. My daughter and son-in-law have traveled 5,000 miles to be here to celebrate with us, their first trip back to our home in almost three years. As a special bonus, we are having a snowstorm. Snow is not a featured weather form at their home in Honolulu!
We have been doing some of the prep work for feasting tomorrow. Beth and Larry have the dough for chocolate babka rising in the refrigerator. They wanted to make it for a festive breakfast to fuel the rest of the kitchen work tomorrow morning. The Indian pudding is baked, ready to re-heat tomorrow. The flavors blend and deepen overnight, so we always prepare it a day ahead. Ditto for the spiced cranberry orange relish.
One unexpected aspect of the day, besides the earlier than expected arrival of the snow, was my attendance at a funeral this morning. Wednesday morning is usually the meeting of the spirituality study group I facilitate at church, but I cancelled today so that we could participate in the funeral liturgy for Virginia, who was one of our former members.
Virginia was a fascinating woman. After serving in the W.A.V.E.S. during WWII, she had married a firefighter. When she was 36, he was killed in the line of duty and she raised eight children on her own. She was a librarian and an insightful thinker. She was in her 80s when I met her and I loved to hear her perspective on life and spirituality. She had served with the Catholic Worker movement with Dorothy Day and was one of the most joyful, insightful, service-oriented women I have ever met. She was 91 when she died on Sunday. Rest in peace, Virginia.
I thank God for the privilege of having experienced your witness of true service to God and neighbor.
November 13 is National Indian Pudding Day. Last year, I (belatedly) wrote and blogged a poem about Indian Pudding. This year, I am sharing an Indian Pudding poem that I wrote in response to a prompt in the fall session of the Binghamton Poetry Project. Will Indian Pudding poems become a tradition at Top of JC’s Mind or next year will I move on to pies? Stay tuned!
Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding
– by Joanne Corey
Hand-written from the recipe box
with a molasses stain
in the right corner
Promised to my daughter
who will travel five-thousand miles
to be with us this Thanksgiving
Generations of family tradition
steaming and fragrant
with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream
National Indian Pudding Day was November 13. NPR did a piece about it: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/11/13/244983031/its-national-indian-pudding-day-heres-why-you-should-celebrate.
I had not previously realized that there was such a thing as a National Day for this purpose, but, as a New England native, I was certainly a fan of Indian pudding. We make a recipe that came to us from my husband’s Great-Aunt Gert. We aren’t sure from whom she received the recipe, but we know it is an old one.
I made it earlier this fall when I went out to visit my college roommate and her husband in Colorado. They had never had it before but enjoyed it. Today, we made a batch to have as part of our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We like to make it the day before serving, as the molasses flavor intensifies after it has set for a day in the refrigerator and is then re-heated to serve with vanilla ice cream. Besides, given that the pudding needs to bake for two hours, it is impractical to do it along with the turkey, dressing, baked squash with apple, and onions that also are vying for oven space.
Here is (at least the first draft of) my poem in honor of Indian Pudding:
Making Aunt Gert’s Indian Pudding
The recipe calls for butter the size of an egg,
Conjuring the image of scooping butter
From the crock in the creamery,
Instead of slicing a few tablespoons
From a stick of Land ‘o Lakes.
Simple and New-England-frugal,
no spices are required,
That expense unnecessary
Due to the wonders of molasses,
Slow-baked and intensified.
The summer corn
Stored as meal and
The fresh milk from the cows
Meld to warm us in the chill of Thanksgiving,
Honoring our New England roots.